What do you do if your car was driven by someone else and they got into an accident and didn’t tell you?

I don’t yet know who the person is because it was a quick on the job errand and the names and dates are not in place. My name is on the vehicle so they’re blaming me. I have proof that I couldn’t have been there at the time of the accident but don’t know how far my responsibility lies. I have a perfect record and the insurance collection agency is tying to ruin it. what are my rights?

Asked on February 18, 2015 under Accident Law, Washington


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Although you were not present when the accident occurred, you are still liable for the accident because you are the registered owner of the vehicle.

Your liability includes property damage (cost of repairs) to the other vehicle that was not at fault in the accident.  You are also liable for the personal injury claims of the occupants of the other vehicle that was not at fault in the accident.  The personal injury claims include compensation for the medical bills, compensation for pain and suffering (an amount in addition to the medical bills) and compensation for wage loss.

If you obtain the police report of the accident, it will name all of the drivers involved in the accident and you can then determine who was driving your car.

Refer the matter to your insurance company.  If the case is settled with your insurance company, NO lawsuit will be filed against you.  If the case is NOT settled with your insurance company, your insurance company will provide you with an attorney at no cost to you.

If your insurance company is denying liability because your car was driven by an unauthorized person and you are sued by the party not at fault in the accident, you can recover the amount of the judgment against you by suing the driver of your car for negligence.  In addition to the judgment against you, your lawsuit against the driver of your car for negligence can also seek to recover the cost of repairs (property damage) to your car.

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